Sunday, April 15, 2012
Occasionally my Sunday morning coffee on the patio routine (depending on how much time I have) includes perusing the SP Team Digests that I receive. I like to see how much activity my team members are doing. It's awesome to see people getting out there and racking up those fitness minutes! Or, is it? I used to look at the Leaderboard and think "wow, look at all those minutes". So, out of curiosity, I view trackers to see what the top people DO for those fitness minutes. It's disappointing! People that I thought were out there really tearing it up, are not. Ok, not to say that all of them are not because certainly many people ARE legitimately putting in the hours. It's mind-boggling what some people count toward their fitness minutes. I can agree with yardwork -unless you are sitting on a riding lawnmower. I disagree with grocery shopping.
It does make a difference which SP Team... the ones that are fitness related attract a different crowd. Those trackers (as a general rule) show a much greater percentage of "legitimate" fitness minutes compared to the trackers of team members based on location or a interest. And that makes sense. A location team would be made up of all different people with myriad interests. But common to every team are those that "cheat" the system. Whether intentional to get themselves to top the Leaderboard or not, who knows. And I really don't care. It's not like there is a Spark Prize awarded for most minutes or most sparkpoints (something I care nothing about). I have seen trackers with QuickTrack fitness minutes, then they also enter the same on the regular tracker with calorie info so they are credited for double the minutes. Why not delete the Quicktrack afterward? Don't you want an accurate accounting of your efforts? Then there are the ones that pre-log their minutes for an entire week(s) in advance. I have a plan for the week, but sometimes it changes. And since I use actual calorie data from my HRM, I can't pre-log. Another interesting thing is to see the reported calories burned. Wow, where do people get these crazy numbers? 1,000 calories for a 45 min run at a 14 min pace? The rule of thumb is 600 calories per hour.
I'm also curious about what people eat. What a diverse study that is! How does a dinner of 4 Healthy Choice chicken meals and 4 Weight Watcher sundaes sound to you? What if I said this was the dinner for the several days in a row that I looked at? I was tempted to keep going because I just couldn't imagine eating that every dang day. And this person is an athlete. The early parts of the day are breakfast drink, protein bar... NO fresh foods at all. Everything is processed. Most people eat a mix of fresh and processed. I haven't seen any that are whole foods only. And only one person on one day had their 5 servings of veggies. Apparently I am the only person on earth that follows that guideline, LOL.
Friday, March 30, 2012
Fun, fun fun! That's my summary of the Rock 'n Roll Dallas Half Marathon. Worth the price of admission? Yes indeed! Especially since I registered early and with a coupon. Of course right after I registered I read all the debacle that was the Las Vegas RnR so I was a bit concerned if Dallas would suffer the same fate of poor planning, disorganization and -worse- mass digestive illness of many runners. I'm happy to report that Dallas was none of these things. It was smooth sailing all the way through.
Hubby and I are from Dallas so we have family to visit and of course there's plenty of shopping to do while there - ulterior motives as to why I chose to race in Dallas. We left home on Friday and hit LBJ Frwy just in time for rush hour traffic. Joy. Traffic is about the only thing I do not miss. My MIL had asked what I wanted to eat pre-race and I told her pizza for Sat night, but anything is fine for Fri. We arrived to pizza. Sat we had BBQ. I ate the leftover pizza. :-)
Saturday morning I headed to the Expo to pick up my race packet. That was loads of fun. Lots of products to sample, lots of excited people. I left downtown around 1 and headed back to Frisco to pick up the MIL. Let the shopping begin! First stop was Costco followed by Whole Foods and World Market. My cooler was full so we had to unload before we could go anywhere else. On the way home we picked up the BBQ that everyone else had for dinner, lol.
Sunday morning I was up at 5:30, showered and eating my favorite PB & Banana oatmeal at 6. DH and I left for downtown at 6:30. The start and finish were two different locations. If we parked at the finish, I would take a shuttle (before 7am) to the start, but he would be stuck there with no transport. If he parked at the start to wait with me, then he would have to pay to park at the finish. Considering the options, we decided it would be best that he drop me off near the start, then drive to the finish at Fair Park. I had signed up for text updates for his phone so he would know when to expect me. That turned out to be a good plan. He dropped me off at the McDonald's that was 2 blocks from where my corral was located. No porta potty for me! I walked into corral 7 at 7:45 after walking a little to warm/loosen up.
I was looking around and noticed other people had on number series for higher corrals. Why were they in the faster start? I always go to the middle because I am a MOP finisher. I'm not going to start in the front because I don't want to be passed by faster people that I shouldn't have cut in front of. A group of 8 ladies circled together in front of me were discussing that they hoped they could finish. They all had 14000 numbers. That was the last corral. They were in 7. I worked my way around them to the front. I know from experience that if that many are together they are going to be a moving blockade side by side. As each corral was launched and the next moved up, the announcer greeted and cheered. About 8:15 it was our turn and we were off. It took 1/2 mile to catch the back of corral 6 and we hit a little traffic jam as the two merged into a mass of people. At 1 mile I was passing a soldier in full fatigues and gear carrying a flag. Like many others, I touched his arm and thanked him for his service as I passed. Seconds later I was overcome with emotion thinking about him. I didn't expect that. It was just the emotion of the moment and thinking of him running the same course with extra weight and heavy clothing, already sweating profusely. I thought about what our soldiers contend with every day.
The bottom of the first hill was at 1.5 and people were dropping to walk. It was really the only hill of the entire course. The next "hill" was a 125' rise in elevation drawn out over 4 miles. That isn't even a noticeable incline. But the same was true for the "downhill" which started after 7.5 to the end. Basically it was a whole lot of flat. YAY! Anyway, once past the hill, it was a few miles to get out of downtown then into Turtle Creek which was beautiful, shaded and cool. The last water station was at 6.5 right before we made the turn at SMU, which made me smile to remember my college days there and I was sniffing the air for the familiar Mrs Baird's bread factory across from campus, but it was closed years ago. That was the best smell ever. Now it was the longest stretch of hot, dry pavement. No breeze. I think there were 2 trees on Mockinbird Ln that offered the briefest respite from the sun as I ran under them.
After passing the halfway mark I was so focused on keeping my pace and living to see the next water station. I ran with Elvis for awhile. I know he had to be hot in that crazy jumpsuit! I think dehydration addled my brain because, although I had another half of my Clif Shot Bloks in my SPIbelt, I chose to join the masses at the 8.8 mile Gu table where they were handing out flavors I didn't even like. I blew a good amount of time being trapped in the crowd instead of using what I had. And liked! Then I had to get 3 cups of water to try to get it down. All told I lost a good :30 going off-plan. So. Dumb.
Somewhere between 10 & 11 was a water station. As we came upon it, the first few tables were empty and people were freaking out, but as we continued, there were tables on down and they were handing out water. Thank. God. There may have been riots.
There were a ton of spectators along the way. My favorite sign was "Run like ya stole sumpthin!" and at mile 12 a lady had a sign that said "just 1 more mile to free beer!". The bands along the way were entertaining while I could hear them and the cheerleaders were fun. I gave lots of high fives to little kids. That last mile took forever. It was through an old business district and sort of devoid of activity with exception of a Starbucks which I seriously considered making a detour for, but I kept on. Mostly because a chick trotted past me that looked like she could do an ad for CrossFit. No joke. She had an enviable physique and nothing jiggled. She was also 20ish. But I daydreamed of some day looking like her. Anyway, we finally entered Fair Park and could hear the music and announcer. My brain was saying "we're almost there!", my legs were almost done, my Garmin (which had been on track the entire course) said 13 and I knew I would live to the end. Then I saw a guy collapsed on the side of the road receiving medical attention. Yikes! Keep running. Around the Cotton Bowl. Keep running. Left turn. Keep running. My Garmin says 13.1. WTH is the finish?!? How much more of Fair Park can we run through?? Keep running. The announcer is asking if she said yes. Apparently someone just got engaged. My DH later said that the dude stopped her before the finish line to ask her. What a dummy. I would have said no because he ruined my PR.
Finally I make a right and see the finish. I cross at 2:09:21. Garmin says 13.21 and I believe it. It was waaay longer than 13.1 miles. Haha! An unexcited volunteer hands me a medal. I dig a cold water out of the ice bucket then wobble to the ladies handing out ice cold wet washcloths. Ahhhhh. Best thing ever. My calves were really tight so I step to the side to stretch a little and holy cats they seized up. I backed it on down and decided I would just walk that out. I went through the maze to get a banana, chocolate milk, gatorade and marathon bar then out to face the crowd of adoring fans. I heard DH calling me so I walked toward him. He was still holding down the camera shutter when I reached him. Yes, multiple photos of my boobs. Doh!
DH bought a swim/bike/run display for my metals from this company heavymedalz.com
and a Rock 'n Roll photo frame for my finish photo.
We hung around for a bit (long enough to get my one free Michelob Ultra) them decided to hunt down the real prize.
Bacon & Blue Burger with Onion Straws at Twisted Root. YUM. So worth it.
Here's my finisher data for those interested:
5k split was 29:30, 10k 1:00:11
Age Group 128/652
And the important part, the bling!
It's perfectly Dallas Glitzy.
On an ending note... I had zero of the usual sore/tightness in my hips or knees. Zero. My calves were tight at the finish, but fine after I walked around a few minutes. No old woman hobbling. I got up the next morning and hopped out of bed like it was nothing. Magic. Shoes. Seriously.
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Last week I was fretting that I wasn't prepared for the first triathlon. I did two last year and never felt like this. I knew that I was fit and it's not that it was my first time, but I was having self-doubt mostly caused by a split focus due to a half marathon this weekend. I felt like I wasn't doing justice to trianing for either race while juggling both on consecutive weekends. The truth is that I was getting my workouts in and my long runs were all accounted for -this was a mental issue. No fears about the events or distances. Mostly fear of not meeting my own expectations. Last fall I was a newbie on a heavy mountain bike. Now I have a fancy road bike and a little more skill so I need to be "better" than last year.
My big concern was that I would be the dork stopping to mount/dismount because I can't get in and out of my bike shoes on the roll. I shared this with the lady next to me in the transition area. She can't either, but told me I need tri-specific cycling shoes instead of cycling shoes and showed me the difference on hers. Ah-ha!! That explains why I can't do it well enough. I didn't see the difference in design. Tri-specific shoes have 1 or 2 straps and they go in the opposite direction (closing toward the inside) to keep the open strap away from your chain. The tongue is attached on the sides so you can't smoosh it when you try to put your foot in and there's a heel loop to grasp so you don't mash the heel. Minor little things that make it all work! And I was in the majority of people that put shoes on and then clipped in. Dorkiness averted.
We started by moving en masse to the indoor pool where we received instruction by bullhorn that no one could understand as it echoed so badly. We were supposed to be lined up by our race numbers, which were assigned by our estimated swim times. I was 47. Out of 249. That was kind of fun while walking around transition. I'm sure people were thinking "whaaat?" or "wow, wish I was that much of a badass". Ok probably not, but I amused myself by thinking they cared what my number was. Anyway, a sea of mixed numbers were around me and everyone was confused. A volunteer came by and grabbed me and another lady and told us to move up "go find a group of people in your time". We worked our way up until she found someone she knew was her speed and I saw a young cute guy that looked fast. I asked if he was 7:45 or under. He thought for a second and said "yeah I can do that". I said "ok I'll get behind you then". He held up his fist to fist bump me and said "let's pound this thing out". That was cute. Did I mention he was cute? He was barely older than my children, but so nice to look at while waiting to start. The line moved quickly as they were dropping us into the starting lane every 5 seconds. You swim the length of the lane (50 meters) then cross under the lane line and go back down the next lane. Repeat until you reach the last lane for a total of 400 meters. It's called a "snaked swim". I dislike this. Very much. When I started 5 seconds behind cutie pie, the turbulance of the water was disorienting. I had the flow coming at me from him with opposite force coming from the next lane going in the opposite direction then also what was bouncing back off the wall. Let's just say I sampled a little pool water and hope everyone else was too nervous to pee, too. I passed the cute 24 yr old half-way down the first lane. As I reached the end, another guy blazed up beside me. I ended up passing him as he ran out of gas toward the end of the 2nd. Two other dudes passed me but I passed them and several others along the way. One thing I really work on is to maintain an even speed and not to let my adrenaline push me out to fast. This is what happens when people overestimate their speed and line up with the fast group...
That's me in the pink cap passing a guy while he's trying to pass another guy and then I'm going to pass the other two by the time we get to the wall. And there was a chick following behind me that would also pass them. Girl power! 400 meters in 7:34 even with the mass traffic at the ends of each lane.
I get out of the pool and run to transition where I promptly plop my butt down to wrangle on socks and cycling shoes. Sunglass on. Helmet flipped and clipped on. Grab my bike and trot (as best as one can in cycling shoes) to the mount line for my dorky stop. Check out my fat rolls. Good. Lord.
I'm hauling booty and picking up speed. It was absolutely gorgeous and I had to keep reminding myself that I wasn't there to sightsee. Dogwoods, azaleas and wisteria in bloom. Crossed a bayou, a golf course, into a neighborhood of beautiful homes. I passed maybe a dozen guys along the way; I was passed by a lot more speedy guys, lol. One woman passed me and dang it she was in my age group. I tried to count the women I saw before making the turnaround point and then the ones not far behind me. I just kept rolling. And I stayed in my aero bars even for turns except one sharp right. I knew it was really flat because I never changed gears. Then when I looked at my Garmin report at the end, it had registered 0 elevation gain. ZERO. For 11 miles. Never seen anything like that. No wonder I was flying. (That's relative to my normal speed since I'm not so fast).
I hop off at the dismount line and I'm like a baby giraffe. Crap, too much effort given on the bike and now I have no legs. I can't get my legs going to wheel into my space! My DH is yelling "Go Lis you gotta hurry!" I started laughing because it was like my legs weren't even attached. I putter my way into my space, rack the bike, ditch the helmet, kick off the shoes, slip into running shoes, cinch the speed laces, clip on my spibelt with race bib attached, take a big swig of water and flip on my visor because I know I have seriously bad hair now. And my brain is attempting to regain control of the uncooperative legs as I motor out to run.
Usually it takes a few minutes to get my cadence down after coming off the bike. Your legs want to keep spinning at a high RPM and you will wear out too fast. I was just plain fatigued. The 2nd mile I wanted to walk so bad, but there was a 20 yr old chick running with me and I was determined to stay with her and maintain some kind of pace. My legs were barely shuffling and we were both dying. Honestly I'm surprised I managed a 9:30 average. Should have been under 9, but oh well it's a trade-off for the speed I gained on the bike. I'll keep working on managing my effort. I managed to finish standing up although gasping for breath.
The end result is that I won 1st in my 45-49 age group!
The woman that passed me on the bike was pulled up for Masters winner. And I have this secret rivalry with a woman who probably doesn't even know I exist (but she will). She lives in my town, but she pretty much rules the state. She is frequently the overall winner. She won the HM (that I also ran) in Jan then turned around the next week and won the 10k that I volunteered for because I knew I wouldn't run well. Anyway, this was the 2nd triathlon we both competed in. She was 3rd overall (women). I was 11th out of 68 women. Not too shabby! We had the exact same swim time, I actually beat her (by 11 whole seconds!!) on the bike, but she crushed me on the run with her 7:00 mile while I was crawling at 9:30. I'll take my victories where I can! I don't actually compete with her. We're not even in the same age group. She's 30-34 age group. Tall, lanky and a runner her entire life. I use her as my yardstick. So now you see how I have issues with self-expectations. Completely unrealistic for me to compare myself to a lifetime athlete 10+ yrs younger when I am not even 2 years away from a sedentary lifestyle of 20 years and 242 pounds. I obviously have issues. But a girl can dream, right? And I have a new idol. The overall women's winner was a 53 yr old. Rock on!
My finish time was 1:15 for 400m/11mi/5k. I was 33/249 in the swim and averaged 18.5 mph on the bike -my best ever! I hope this feeling of badassness carries me through the half marathon this weekend. I'm not looking for any time improvement from my last one, but I did register with a pace group so I'll see how that helps to keep me on the same time. It's going to be really crowded (which I dislike) but really fun. It's my first Rock and Roll event. Woo-hoo!
Monday, March 12, 2012
March is a busy race month for me. I had a 10k on 3/3 that was the hilliest course in the state. This Saturday is the first triathlon of the season. The following weekend 3/25 is my last half marathon until fall. Can I get an amen on that! I am really looking forward to NOT training for a half marathon. It's been real, it's been fun, but it's no longer real fun. It was through winter, but now that triathlon season is starting -that's what I want to do. So my long runs have suffered since I'm not into them. I've had to force myself to get on it the last month lest I show up completely undertrained.
I had a decent brick workout (that's a bike/run) Saturday that went better than the last which didn't make me feel too confident, but in my defense, I was going on very tired legs from a previous day of tempo run and spin class. Saturday I did 16 miles on the bike averaging 18 mph (that's 2 mph faster than my best tri split from last fall on my mountain bike) then a 2 mile run at 9:30. I'm feeling much better about my physical preparedness on the bike. I made the mistake of forgetting to get a good drink after putting my bike in the car and realized at 1/2 mi down the road that I was thirsty. It just got worse as I went along. I was thinking "I'm hot. I'm thirsty. My legs are tired. And I still have12 miles to run tomorrow." Man, what a whiner! So I quit at 2 miles, got in the car to chug my gatorade and blast the A/C.
I'm struggling with mounting and dismounting. My clipping in just isn't as smooth as I would like it to be. I haven't had enough time on my bike for it to feel normal. So I'm going to be a dork and come to a complete stop to get off and on. I'll probably get run over by someone doing a flying dismount. I'm a chicken. I've fallen twice. I want/need to practice, but I really don't like falling, lol. You're supposed to practice on grass to break your fall. I'm not sure how I'm supposed to pedal through thick St Augustine. I told my husband he would need to hold on to the seat and run beside me. He didn't go for that plan. I've watched all the Youtube videos. I get it. I know how to clip my shoes and rubberband them in place while in transition. But I can't fathom having the balance to get my foot in and out of them them while rolling. Again, I'm skeered of falling. Sooo, it will be a complete stop for now. I'm sure I won't be the only one, but STILL. Ugh.
Sunday afternoon I did get those 12 miles in and all was well and right in my little world. Although I was really glad to see the end. It was hot. And I am now chafed under both arms and two spots on my back. So much for pricey Moving Comfort bras preventing chafing. I will stick with my Champions. Amazingly I'm not sore. I hate to sound like a Newton bandwagoner, but I have to admit I am a cult convert. If I can be barely up to snuff on mileage, do a hard workout Saturday followed by 12 miles on Sunday and not be walking like an old woman... holy cow. They are magic shoes. Anyway... Now that I've had my last long run before the half... I'm glad that training is ending. It's hard to do all things well enough. I can drop back the distance and get my ST time back. I haven't had a lot of spare time lately and that includes Spark time. But the weather is awesome, I already have a tan and tri season starts on Saturday. If I could drop 3 pounds in a week it would just be so perfect, lol. Oh and before you think you are envious of my tan, you would have to see it to appreciate that I'm not really bragging about it. Draw a line across the middle of each thigh. Below the line is brown. Above the line is lily white. Yeah, I'm sexy and I know it.
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
First, the Snack Basket....
I pack my lunch for work every day. Everything is perfectly portioned and balanced. I never leave lunch to chance. My afternoon snack goes in the bag, too. And I usually decide what to prepare for dinner while I'm making my lunch. Most of the time I finish logging before I leave for work so I am sure I'm where I need to be for the day. I would rather have too much before dinner than trying to figure out how to eat a "healthy" 800 calorie dinner because I came up too short. Anyway... my weekdays are so well-planned then the weekend goes completely awry. I don't plan in the morning. And those are usually my very high calorie days because I have a long run Saturday and usually 90-120 min on the bike Sun. No, I don't lose weight faster by having a higher caloric deficit. A deficit over 700 really messes me up and I won't lose or I may even gain. Seems impossible, but it happens all the time. So I don't eat enough on the weekends. On the contrary, my DH eats too much. Junk. He has made tremendous strides in a lifestyle makeover and I keep promising I will blog on that -eventually.
DH's weekend routine is to get up around 11, eat breakfast, skip lunch then he's starving by 2 so he grabs a bag of chips (pretzels, whatever) and chows down on half a bag. I pointed out the nutritional label. He says "yeah so I had a serving and it was 170 calories". Half the bag isn't a serving. He says he didn't eat that much. I had to prove it to him the next day. I grabbed the bag and weighed it before he took off. Weighed it when he finished his "one serving"... it was 3.5 servings. Yes, he stood there with his mouth open in disbelief. My point is that if you do not portion out and walk away from the bag, you WILL eat more than a serving.
Now we have a snack basket. It is full of his favorite things --in exact portions. He travels a lot during the week and often relies on a convenience store find for a snack. Now, when he remembers it exists, he will grab snacks to go. This also helps me on the weekend because it's already portioned, it's out on the counter where I see it / remember I need a snack and it is what I need. I use snack-size ziplock bags for pretzels, crackers, dry cereal etc. and 2oz plastic portion cups (from restaurant supply) for nuts, dried fruits, peanut butter, dark chocolate chips and granola for a yogurt topper. Once a week I spend about 15 min weighing and portioning snacks for the basket. DH is learning about balancing snacks. No, you don't get 2 cups of nuts for a snack, but you can have a cup of nuts and a cup of craisins. Grab a pack of crackers and a string cheese from the fridge. An apple and a cup of peanut butter. Or pretzels and peanut butter. I also have portions of hummus in the fridge. That stuff is dangerous!
Sooo, maybe a snack basket would help in your house?
Cleaning up your nutritional act.....
I'm not fanatical about it, but I do eat very clean. By fanatical I mean I don't eat only fresh organic veggies and only grass-fed beef and free-range chicken. I'm picky. Not perfect. We don't have a Whole Foods. Just a Kroger with a tiny "health food" section. Or (gasp) Walmart. So I pick and choose my foods carefully by scrutinizing the nutrition labels and ingredients lists. My processed foods list consists of yogurt, cheese, peanut butter, pretzels, hummus, whole grain tortillas/bread and Luna bars. Other than that I eat a lot of veggies, fruit, chicken and fish. Why? Because it makes me feel good. And look good. My MIL is convinced I have some secret skin treatment that I'm not telling her about. Nope. Good food and lots of water. That's my secret. I had my annual girly doctor appointment two weeks ago and she asked if I had my face "done". Then she personally called me to give my my bloodwork results. And that would be the point of this paragraph. Clean up your (nutritional) act, people. All of this good food and exercise is good for you!
Glucose: low normal
CBC: normal, no deficiencies
Bone Density: high normal
Cholesterol Total: 133 (optimum is less than 200)
LDL: 55 (optimum is less than 100)
HDL: 65 (optimum is above 50)
Triglycerides: 63 (optimum is less than 150)
Blood pressure: 105/60
My doctor wanted to know what diet I was on. She lost 20 pounds last year with adipex through the local "diet doctor". Then stopped losing after 6 weeks and promptly gained back 25. I have several friends that did that. I tell everyone I know about Sparkpeople. That's not what they want to hear. They don't want to change their life. They want to lose weight. Fast. And with a magic pill. It's about nutrition and healthy living. That's the big secret. Change your life!
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